Maisano runs to victory
St. Albert runner fastest female in Fall Challenge half-marathon
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 06:00 am
Finishing the 11th annual St. Albert Fall Challenge as the top female was a step in the right direction towards a fast time at the Victoria half-marathon for Shannon Maisano.
The St. Albert runner was clocked at one hour, 27 minutes and one second to place third overall out of 130 half-marathoners on a sunny Sunday morning.
“I wanted to do under 1:30 so overall I was very pleased with the day,” Maisano said. “I managed to do a negative split so my goal was to start out kind of steady and increase my speed throughout and I executed that well.”
Maisano’s third and final half-marathon of the year is Oct. 13 in Victoria.
“This is sort of gearing up towards that. I’ve got a couple of hard weeks and then I will taper,” said the female winner of the 2012 Edmonton Police Foundation half-marathon at 1:30:55 for 16th overall.
The female runner-up at the Fall Challenge was Reina Ainsworth of Edmonton at 1:33:26 for seventh overall.
Cassandra Tomas of Sherwood Park was the third-place female at 1:34:57 for 10th overall.
Wietske Eikelenboom of St. Albert, the fastest female the last three years, didn’t defend her crown. Her time last year was 1:31:26 for 11th overall out of 173 finishers.
Maisano, 36, participated in the five and 10 kilometre races during the early years of the Fall Challenge but never did the 21.1-km half-marathon route on the Red Willow trail system until Sunday.
“I run these trails every day so that is a good thing. I felt really, really comfortable,” said the Paul Kane High School alumna. “I always feel great in St. Albert, whether it’s a 10-miler or this race, which is the perfect course. It’s beautiful, and what a perfect day too. It’s a good start to the day.”
The last big race for Maisano was the Edmonton half-marathon last month and her 1:26:15 was a personal best as the fastest St. Albert female in the race. She finished fourth among females for 26th overall and was also second in her 30 to 39 age division.
“I would definitely say that was my highlight so far this year,” Maisano said. “I’ve had a bit of a rough year. I was injured for half the year and my (left) ankle injury took a long time to heal but I finally started to feel better.”
The avid runner prefers shorter distances and hasn’t competed in a marathon since 2010, a 3:11:38 effort in Calgary as the eighth-best female and 34th overall finisher.
“I’m trying to work my way up into the longer distances so I probably won’t do another marathon for a couple of years,” said the 2012 female winner of $1,000 in the Athletics Alberta Timex points race series.
Maisano (nee Toope) is no stranger to excelling in St. Albert races as the hometown girl. Last year, six months after giving birth to her second child, she was the first St. Albert runner to win the female title in the 28-year history of the St. Albert 10-Mile Road Race while going 1:03:03 for 24th overall.
“The 10-miler was a lifelong goal to finish first in that race. It’s a competitive race and you get all the best runners out there and although I’m really pleased with coming first in this race, the 10-miler is definitely the highlight for me,” said Maisano, the third-fastest female at the 10-miler in April at 1:05:30 for 43rd overall despite her wonky ankle.
Visit www.resultscanada.com for Fall Challenge results.